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In photos: Change Nation launches in Dublin, but what is it?

The social innovation movement launched in Dublin today.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Helen McGuire at today's launch.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Helen McGuire at today's launch.
Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

A NEW INITIATIVE aiming to bring ‘real change’ to Ireland launched in Dublin today ahead of the movement’s three-day summit next month.

Change Nation will bring together 50 ‘changemakers’ , international social innovators who aim to accelerate innovation in Ireland’s education, healthcare, economic development, environmental issues, civic participation and inclusion, according to its organiser Ashouka.

Ashouka is a global association of over 3,000 social entrepreneurs.

The Irish summit will be held from 22 to 24 March in Dublin and the event is being hosted by Ashoka Ireland and investors including Dermot Desmond, the Irish O’Brien Foundation and Mark Little.

The event will see 50 innovators engage and interact with ‘changemakers’ in Ireland in over 500 one-on-one meetings to develop a strategy for finding and introducing innovation solutions.

In photos: Change Nation launches in Dublin, but what is it?
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  • Change Nation

    (Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland)
  • Change Nation

    Director of Ashoka and founder of Change Nation Paul O'Hara with Enda Kenny TD outside Goverment Buildings in Dublin today. (Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland)
  • Change Nation

  • Change Nation

    Up to 500 one-on-one meetings will take place over the three days between social entrepreneurs, philanthropists, business and political leaders. Launching the event (LtoR) is An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD and Helen McGuire, from Co. Limerick, with members of Change Nation. (Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland)
  • Change Nation

    The first platform of its kind in the world, Change Nation will commence in Dublin between 22 and 24 March 2012. (Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland)
  • Change Nation

    Launching the event is An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD with members of Change Nation at Goverment Buildings in Dublin today. (Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland)

“The solutions to many of Ireland’s problems already exist at home and across the world,” Paul O’Hara, director of Ashoka and founder of Change Nation explains. “Our challenge is to identify these solutions and bring them to scale.”

“The solutions to be discovered at Change Nation have proven themselves to be effective, each one typically impacting on thousands of lives. Systematically importing and accelerating these proven solutions will increase our speed, efficiency and success rate in addressing these challenges.”

Key speakers at next month’s event will include:

  • Peter Eigen of Transparency International, a leader of a global coalition to challenge corruption. His leadership is producing change in monitoring and governance in more than 90 countries around the world, according to ChangeNation
  • James Whelton of Coder Dojo, a 19-year-old social entrepreneur who is building a movement to inspire and support young people across Ireland in learning about software and computer programming
  • Mary Gordon of Roots of Empathy. Gordon is reducing aggression by teaching students emotional literacy and fostering the development of empathy. With programmes already established in more than 40 schools across Ireland, Roots of Empathy will continue to expand in coming years
  • Matt Flannery of KIVA, which has created a new online platform for lenders and borrowers to meet, thereby bringing fresh finance to SMEs across the world. Since its launch in 2005, KIVA has facilitated more than $280 million in loans in more than 60 countries.

O’Hara said that the organisation is inviting people to “discover these solutions” on the Change Nation website and to get involved in the solutions they feel passionate about or want to make their own.

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Launching the event today, Taoiseach Enda Kenny welcomed the initiative, saying it would “bring together the talents and ideas of some of our brightest and best to find solutions to challenges facing our nation.”

“By working together, Ireland can not only emerge from its problems, but emerge stronger and better,” Kenny added.

The Taoiseach said that social innovation was particularly valuable because it could create new alliances between communities, government and business to “address fundamental social and economic challenges”.

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